The Tories are sending military support to Israel with surveillance aircraft, two Royal Navy support ships and 100 Royal Marines sent to the eastern Mediterranean on Friday.
The British naval task force is smaller than the US’s, which is sending the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford and a cruiser with four destroyers.
Defence secretary Grant Shapps also defended Israel’s order for more than one million people in and around Gaza City to move south. Shapps failed to say whether he thought it was human or possible for half the population to do this.
Instead, he repeated the line that Israel has a “right to take action”.
British military units and fighter aircrafts at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus are also on alert in preparation for Israel’s ground assault.
And the RFA Lyme Bay, a logistics support vessel and RFA Rugs, an emergency medical ship will make their way to the eastern Mediterranean. Britain has two warships in the region—HMS Duncan tasked to Nato and HMS Lancaster as part of Britain’s permanent presence in the Persian Gulf.
Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism
The Tories are handing £3 million to the Community Security Trust that “helps protect Jewish community sites”.
It lobbies for support for Israel and slurs Palestinians. In 2021 it tweeted, “The chant ‘From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free’ was ubiquitous in anti-Israel protests in the UK. But did you know it’s a slogan used by Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein?”
Rishi Sunak and home secretary Suella Braverman talk of “protecting the Jewish community”. It sets up an image of violent, antisemitic Arabs on the rampage. And it treats all Jews as pro-Israel anti-Palestinians.
In fact, many British Jews are very uneasy about what Israel is doing and support Palestinian rights. Some are fully behind the Palestinians and are anti-Zionists.
The biggest threat to Jews and other racialised groups is the racist words and policies from Sunak and Braverman.
Union leaders fail test of solidarity over Palestine
Where is the left support for the resistance of Palestinians, and outrage at the atrocities committed by Israel?
The Labour Party has refused to condemn Israel cutting off water and food supplies to Gaza. And almost all the 14 unions affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have not called for support for its demonstration in London on Saturday.
Those failing the test include Unite, Unison, NEU, FBU and CWU. The RMT general secretary Mick Lynch wrote on Thursday that the RMT “utterly condemns attacks on civilians”. He added, “Renewed violence and extreme rhetoric will only make matters worse with devastating consequences for all sides.
“Members will be aware that demonstrations will be called over the coming days, including in London on Saturday. We should be mindful of the need for the safety and welfare of all our members.”
This shifted on Friday. In a new statement Lynch said the situation for Palestinians had “worsened significantly”.
Lynch then “advised” members to attend the PSC demonstration, sharing its details. The RMT London regional also called for members to attend the march to “End the violence. End apartheid”.
An RMT member working in central London told Socialist Worker, “There was a very strong reaction against the first circular. People were amazed that we sounded like Keir Starmer.
“Aren’t we standing with the Palestinians, shouldn’t we be on the streets on Saturday? And the stuff about ‘safety’. It’s going along with the idea of dangerous Arabs and Muslims.
“We passed our views up the union machine, and I’m glad there is a better circular out now.”
Meanwhile, Aslef’s Mick Whelan spoke at a PSC event at the Labour Party conference on Tuesday and the union’s national social media pages posted details of Saturday’s demonstration.
The PSC union wrote a statement condemning Hamas, and the Israeli government’s response. It called this “horrifying and a form of collective punishment which is against international law”.
It also slammed the Tories, saying it said it was “appalled” at their support for Israel’s “war crimes”.
“The responsibility of the Israeli government for the overall deterioration of the situation in Gaza and the occupied territories is clear, having openly denied the existence and rights of Palestinians,” it added. It ended by supporting the demonstration on Saturday.
Bfawu union’s national president Ian Hodson has tweeted support for Palestine, but the union nationally has stayed quiet. Many union leaders won’t speak out because they don’t want to break from Keir Starmer who disgracefully said this week Israel has a “right” to cut power and water supplies to Gaza.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said earlier this week that she has “no time” for people cheering for Palestine.
Trade unionists, despite their leaders’ failures, should attend Saturday’s demonstration with banners in hand.Original post